After the annoucement of the next Disney live movie project was announced to be Mulan, the Asian community showed various reactions. Some are excited and hope their favorite actors (based in US, China or even Korea) would play the iconic historical personnality, others pointed their worries: they don’t want a ‘white washed’ Mulan.
Hua Mulan is, with Pocahantas, my favorite Disney princess. She is kind and strong. At the young age of around 16 years old, she sacrifices her future to save her father by enlisting in the army to fight Genghis Khan. Not only that, disguised as a man, she became one of the best soldier on the battlefield and made friends who truly recognized her values. After winning the war, instead of staying for the glory, she goes back home. It is only when her fellow soldier friends come visit her at her house that it is revealed the truth: she is a girl.
Mulan is an heroin because she is able to go beyond the social prejudices to become a woman useful and loyal to both her family and her country. She is often the first feminist young (Asian) girls see on the screen, the role model of us all. She showed us that we can care for others, bring pride to the household and still be yourself. She is lovable at every angle.
Online, people are afraid that Western movie production may transform Mulan into a whitewashed stereotypical character. And with good reason if we remember the desastrous casting choice for Dragon Ball Movie, The Last Samourai and The Forbidden Kingdom, all movies chosing a White person to play an obvious Asian character. A petition by Natalie Molnar called ‘Tell Disney you don’t you don’t want a whitewashed Mulan‘ has collected 38 338 signatures so far. We Asians take pride in this character and, even if the movie will be produced by an American company, truth is that the movie will be aired around the world. Authenticity to the original story is a must!
Personnally, I am not too worried since Disney did a very good job with the cartoon version of the story. Furthermore, I heard positive feedback from the live movie Cindereralla (right now in theater) and I watched Maleficient last year, which was well done. Let’s just hope they keep up the good work and everything will be fine :3
Here is what Buzzfed suggests for the casting (and I kind of agree)
Constance Wu as Hua Mulan
Godfrey Gao as General Li Shang
Russell Wong as Fa Zhou (Mulan’s father)
Wen Ming-na as Fa Li (Mulan’s mother)
Benedict Wong as Shan Yu
Tzi Ma as the emperor
Jackie Chan as the dragon Mushu xD
Online (especially on WeChat and Weibo) the nominees for Hua Mulan are:
Fan Bingbing, Constance Wu, MingNa Wen, Lucy Liu, Tang Wei, Li Bingbing, Zhang Ziyi, Ni ni.
And the list by Youtube Channel Off the Great Wall